Mozart and Gounod, April 2013

GounodGounod Sunday April 21st 7:00 pm W A MozartMozart
Royal Northern College of Music
Gounod – St Cecilia Mass
Composed in 1854, and first performed in full in Paris on St Cecelia’s Day 1855, this work made Gounod famous. He was a devout Catholic following a period spent in Italy, and at one time he studied for the priesthood.  The music is lyrical and sincere and the drama is heightened by Gounod’s operatic talent.
Mozart – Requiem
Famously, this was Mozart’s last work, commissioned in 1791 by an anonymous patron. At least according to the mythology, the stress of composition may have hastened his death on December 5th while he was working on the “Lachrymosa”. The work was completed by one or more of Mozart’s students, commissioned by his widow in order to secure the final payment. It remains one of the greatest and best-loved works in the choral repertoire.
Click here to view the concert programme.
Stuart Ferguson kindly provided the following review, an abridged version of which was published in the Oldham Chronicle on 26 April 2013.

Oldham Choral Society’s performance of Mozart’s Requiem and Gounod’s Messe Solennelle de Sainte-Cecile at the Royal Northern College of Music on Sunday was an outstanding triumph.The seldom-heard Gounod Mass attracted listeners from as far as Coventry and was well worth the journey.

Under the expressive hands and directive fingers of Conductor Nigel P. Wilkinson the Oldham Choral Society and the East Lancashire Sinfonia melded effortlessly together to produce a memorable performance of both works.

Never have the Choral Society sounded better. Their new weekly rehearsal space in the ballroom of Chadderton Town Hall has given them ‘room to breathe’, and ensured a top-notch concert performance was on the cards with a high standard of choral singing.

Soloists Gail Pearson (Soprano), Natasha Best (Mezzo), Nick Sales (Tenor) and Dean Robinson (Bass) enhanced the performances with quartet singing in Mozart’s Requiem and with individual solos in Gounod’s Mass, a joyous affirmation of faith dedicated to the Patron Saint of Music St. Cecilia.

In a week when the country had its first Ceremonial Funeral for 48 years it seems fitting that Mozart’s Requiem was presented with a zeal, energy and verve that would have been equally at home in St Paul’s Cathedral.

Sadly Mozart died before the Requiem was completed but the Oldham Choral Society kept this magnificent rendition of it powerfully alive to the very last note. A wonderful performance.

Oldham Choral Society sing again on 23rd June at Middleton Arena when they present Merrie England and The Arcadians and on 27th October 2013 at the RNCM for Verdi’s Requiem.

For details of performances or to join the Society, which rehearses on Monday nights, contact Chairman Fred Jones 0161 205 4638


Gail Pearson Natasha Best
Gail Pearson – Soprano Natasha Best – Mezzo
Nick Sales Dean Robinson
Nick Sales – Tenor Dean Robinson – Bass
Orchestra East Lancs Sinfonia
Conductor Nigel P Wilkinson

Tickets (Adults £14, RNCM students £5, under 18s accompanied by an adult £1) will be available from:

– Our ticket secretary on 01457 832 012

– The RNCM box office on 0161 907 5555

– Online via the RNCM web site (explore to find the concert then book online)